It never fails. After a big hail storm or wind storm hits Texas, people claiming to be professional roofers flock to the affected area promising to save residents large sums of money on their roof repairs. They knock on doors, tape up fliers, put out signs, but buyer beware, many of them are not only acting unethically, but they are also breaking the law.
What is illegal?
Simply put, there are local roofers breaking the law by acting as public insurance adjusters or lawyers. They aren’t publicly claiming to be them, but they are making promises and claims that aren’t allowed by roofing or construction companies. For example, there is a local roofer obtaining contracts in the Plano and Dallas area by offering rebates in the exact amount of the homeowners deductible. That’s illegal!
In the state of Texas, if you want to adjust claims on behalf of a homeowner, you have to be a licensed, public adjuster. It’s not legal for an individual to profit in the role of public adjuster and then profit again for performing the repair/replacement. There are many honest, ethical public adjusters who also work for roofing companies, but they don’t play the role of both and profit twice off the same job; they have to be one or the other.
Why is this important to homeowners?
The laws are in place to protect consumers. Licensed public adjusters are trained to advocate for you with insurance companies. Roofers are not. By keeping the two entities separate, you know each party is doing the best for you without conflict of interest.
What happens if they get caught?
Under Section 4102 of the Texas Insurance Code, roofing contractors and public adjusters are subject to disciplinary actions, which include fines and other penalties if they are found to have acted unethically. Public adjusters can lose their license. The way to avoid this is to hire a separate licensed public adjuster to negotiate policy claims, when necessary. This became clear in 2017 when the Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, Texas certified class-action lawsuit status for participants in the Lon Smith and Associates (dba Lon Smith Roofing and Contracting) v. Key case.
The court ruled the roofing company was performing unauthorized public adjusting and because of this, the contracts were null and void. One of the key reasons was the wording in the contracts that said, “The final price agreed to between the insurance company and LSRC shall be the final contract price.” They were acting as public adjusters and that’s not legal.
What can my roofer do?
Roofing companies still can assist the consumer by making sure they get everything owed according to their policy without crossing legal and ethical lines. According to the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT), roofers can do the following:
- Show the areas of damage and explain why you believe the damage is the result of hail, wind, storm, etc.
- Explain and answer questions regarding the scope of your suggested repairs and why each item of repair is necessary
- Identify additional items of work required due to code upgrades
- Answer questions regarding how the work was priced
- Explain their policy of charging OH&P on all work included in your bid
Read the complete tip sheet: What You Can and CANNOT Do/Say as a Roofer Related to Insurance
Reputable roofing companies, like Peak Roofing & Construction, help consumers and their insurance companies by collecting and documenting information that clearly states what type of work needs to be done and why. Providing honest and accurate information that is fact-based makes it easy for the insurance companies to see what is legitimately owed under the policy guidelines.
Hiring a reputable roofer
To find a reputable roofer it is important that you do your research. Between the Better Business Bureau, RCAT, and online reviews, you can get a good indication of whether a roofing contractor is focused on doing the right thing and takes care of the customer long after the storm passes. Call us today or request a free inspection. We’re here to help.
About Peak Roofing & Construction
Peak Roofing & Construction is family-owned, with 30-years of experience. Bonded, insured and accredited, we provide roofing, gutter, fence, window and exterior facelift services. Guaranteed. Call (972) 335-7325 in Dallas-Fort Worth (residential & commercial) or 281-290-7325 in Houston (commercial roofing).